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Easter – Opportunity is Knocking
During this week that falls between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, it becomes easier to talk about God in a myriad of ways. You can even initiate conversations about God without sounding the normal alarms and raising eyebrows. Conversations about God are expected this week even among the unchurched.
The big issue for the unchurched this week is whether or not to attend Easter Services on Sunday. About half of the U.S. population only goes to church at Christmas time and Easter. Easter is the most popular choice because it always falls on Sunday. And of course, the primary motivation to go to church on Easter among the unchurched is to be “religious” and to ease their conscience . . . followed by family gatherings. About 20% of the unchurched remain undecided this week about going to Easter Services. That’s opportunity knocking!
The Cause: In most cases, the unchurched view the Church as irrelevant, hypocritical and rife with moral failure. While a person of this mindset may go to Church on Easter, the chance of them hearing and responding to an Easter message is almost none existent . . . and a great disappointment for those who worked so hard to get them there.
The Solution: You are the Church outside its walls. The burden is on you to change their perception of God and the Church, before they come to your church, with your most powerful tool being love. Almost everyone is starving for love and kindness and understanding, all of which is in operation when you allow God to love people through you for His Glory. Your job is to let your light so shine before man that they will see God through you and want what you have, before they enter the doors of your church.
Jesus not only gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin, but He conquered death for all of His followers through His Resurrection from the grave, a fact that was documented by the Romans beyond dispute. If your unsaved friends are to be impacted by your pastor’s sermon on Easter morning, they need to understand the significance of Easter before he speaks. Jesus died for their sins on the Cross and rose again to prepare a place for them in Heaven.
Application: This is the best week of the year for inviting your unsaved friends to church because it’s already on their mind. But inviting them is only the first step. Once they say yes, you have an open door and the responsibility to prepare them for Sunday morning. In addition to the Easter Story, explaining that God loves them as much as He’s ever loved anyone, no matter what they’ve done, and that His primary desire for them is to spend Eternity with Him in Heaven can have profound impact. It’s also simple for you to say and simple for them to understand.
You can address their thoughts head on, by explaining that we’re all hypocrites. All of us have fallen short of the Glory of God. None of us are good enough to get into Heaven. And the wages of sin are death, but the Gift of God is Eternal Life made possible by Jesus giving His life on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sin. That’s why Easter is so important and such a perfect time for them to get right with God.
Reference Quotes and Scriptures:
“When Christ hung and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world ‘I love you.’ ”
“Our old history ends with the Cross. Our new history begins with the resurrection.”
“Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came into this world to make good people alive.”
O death, where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:55-57
For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again.
Just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life . . . Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back.
I Corinthians 15:21-23
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.